65 502 Arctic Territories – Svalbard as fluid territory


Passed 1st year Landscape Architecture

Course content

The Arctic is changing, not only in terms of climate and environment, but also in terms of demography, urbanism, and landscape. These changes have lead to intense debates and extensive research. Through a series of studies, the Tromsø Academy of Landscape and Territorial Studies have investigated landscapes and their development in a variety of Arctic Territories, demonstrating that there is a major global influence on local communities, and territories.

This studio course, in conjunction with the Future North research project (www.futurenorth.no), will map Svalbard as a fluid global territory. The mapping, conceived as a series of layered, interlinked chronologies, will explore quantitative (data-driven), historiography (archive research) and qualitative (memory and oral histories) aspect of this territory. Areas of proposed study are as follows:

A geologic cross-section of Svalbard illustrating changing water levels over time, connected to a GIS topographic plan of that chronologically traces the fluid interface between land and water. This territorial information will be visually linked to historic resource extraction, changing nationalities, economic data, and jurisdictional laws.

Global influence:
A social and environmental cross-section of outside influences upon Svalbard, such as PCB's, invasive species, plastic, tourism, and population migrations. This mapping will also include migratory disturbances and the patterns of habitation related to terrestrial and marine organisms (plants and animals).

Svalbard as global agent:
Svalbard has a strong agency in global climate change management. Through monitoring systems such as satellite monitoring and remote sensing systems of land and seas, Svalbard is reaching out to the world, providing essential data and research material. It also holds a repository for global heritage – a world seed bank, endangered species, and landscape protection areas.


Parsing the above information into 3 multi-layered timelines we will focus upon key topics, or questions, and thus tell a slightly different story about Svalbard. The complexity of the interactions occurs through juxtaposition of data, and the analytic combining of parts.

Learning outcomes

Ved gjennomført studium skal studenten;
* have extende knowledge of which internal and external forced that influence Arctic territories
* have extended knowledge of which forces specifically influence SValbars as territory, landscape and social space

Ved gjennomført studium skal studenten;
• Conceptual understanding of socio-political connections in territorial fields in the Arctic.
• Ability to conceptually incorporate social, political and infrastructural components in large scale territorial situations in the Arctic
• Ability to reflect knowledge and theoretical background in project work

Generell kompetanse
Ved gjennomført studium skal studenten;
• Conceptual understanding of socio-political and scientific connections in territorial fields in the Arctic, specifically Svalbard
• Ability to employ knowledge of the discipline in new areas and be able to identify problems within and without of the discipline.

Working and learning activities

Historical background and theoretical framework for the mapping the course will execute
Archival research - both analog and digital
GIS and InDesign map production
Analysis of historical and scientific data